– The power of fasting

desertChristians did something from the very beginning that is not generally practiced in Christianity any more. It is the practice of fasting. You can read about how Christ went into the wilderness and fasted for 40 days. During that time, Jesus was tempted by the devil, and he overcame each encounter.

There are even plenty of early Christian writings that mention that church members were fasting. What about us today? The question then is – Should Christians be fasting often? When, Why and How should we go about fasting?

I will not go into the medical details, but there are recent studies that show how beneficial it can be to your health. One study showed that your entire immune system can be rebooted with a three-day fast. My purpose here, is to speak about the spiritual benefits of fasting, not necessarily the physical.

Let’s go back to Christ and his 40 day fast. Christ did this just before beginning his three year ministry. That ministry would culminate with his death on the cross, and then his resurrection and ascension. Obviously, the fast was a way for Jesus to prepare for his ministry. He was doing it in a disciplined way to gain the strength necessary to accomplish his mission on earth. I am not talking about merely giving up a food you really like, such as Oreo cookies for a day. The kind of fast I am talking about is an abstinence from food, and water.

Most people can certainly go without food and water for 24 hours. You eat a simple meal, say Saturday at 5 PM, and then eat your next meal Sunday at 5 PM. If you are older or have other health issues, you may not be able to do this, so don’t put yourself in danger. You might be capable of going without food, but not water, so judge this for yourself. For example, if you don’t drink water for 24 hours, you may have a severe case of constipation that could be a very critical medical issue for you.

As long as I am at it, let me also suggest that a fast for spiritual reasons includes giving up all bodily appetites, so you should also consider abstaining from sex in your marriage (see Exodus 19:15) and other bodily appetites you might identify.

So what then are the spiritual benefits? I already mentioned that Jesus Christ was fasting to be prepared to begin his ministry. We likewise will fast for strength. This can be to overcome an addiction, or just as a kind of “tune-up” in our lives to stay strong against temptations and apostasy. We know there are powers out to destroy us.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:12 NIV

Don’t forget to include plenty of time on your knees and to humble yourself and remove the pride that prevents God from blessing you. Offer up prayers of thanks and worship God. This is also a time to pray for strength, to pray to ask for what you should pray for and to plead with God for the righteous desires of your heart. The combination of fasting and prayer is the “nuclear option” that can act like nothing else you will ever experience in your life to call upon the powers of heaven.

In the New Testament, the apostles were told to go out and perform miracles and heal people. They were actually successful at doing that. But then, they came across a case where they could not heal a man that had been possessed of the devil. They came and asked Christ why. He explained it to them as follows:

“But this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting.” – Matthew 17:21

There you have it! If you really want to combine your faith and prayers into a potent mixture in your life, you combine these with fasting.

Note: I am not a medical doctor, so please consult a doctor if you really want to know what is safe and healthy for you.

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– We need a miracle! Let’s unite to see one, like Moses and George Washington did!

george-washington-praying-olympia-washingtonWhen you consider the great miracles found in the Old Testament, one stands out above the rest. That is the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea. Here you had a truly hopeless situation. There they were, Moses and the children of Israel. Pinned down. On one side of them were the armies of Pharaoh. On the other side the red sea. The only thing that could save them from certain death was a miracle.

Fast forward to the time of the American revolutionary war. George Washington commanded a much smaller, less armed and inferior army than that of the British and their contingency. Many colonists were against Washington and felt they should accept the offer given by the British to be pardoned and settle for what seemed some fairly good terms. Washington’s troop count at one point would get critically low. Then he would get pinned down and would have no escape and face certain death. The only thing that could save them from certain death was a miracle.

Fast forward to our day. We are exhausted economically and militarily. The slightest tremor to our fragile system will cause it to crumble. We have enemies within that have betrayed us. We have enemies on the outside that seek our destruction. We have social unrest, disillusionment, division and deception of the masses. We are pinned down and have no escape and face certain destruction. The only thing that can save anyone is a miracle.

How to see miracles

We have no national leader at this present hour like a George Washington or a Moses. What would that type of a leader be telling us to do in this most critical hour?  These humble leaders of the past would be telling us “we need a miracle!” But how? How are we to see a miracle in our midst? And how would we deserve such a miracle? Let’s hear it from Washington’s own lips. What did he say in his day? It is also what he would certainly say now.

“Thursday … set apart … as a day of fasting, prayer and humiliation, to implore the Lord and Giver of all victory to pardon our manifold sins and wickedness, and that it would please Him to bless the Continental Arms with His divine favor and protection–all officers and soldiers are strictly enjoined to pay all due reverence and attention on that day to the sacred duties due to the Lord of hosts for His mercies already received and for those blessings which our holiness and uprightness of life can alone encourage us to hope through His mercy to obtain.” – George Washington decree to his troops, March 6, 1776

“All the troops…except the guards, are to attend Divine worship tomorrow morning at the second bell; the officers commanding corps, are to take especial care, that their men appear clean, and decent, and that they are to march in proper order to the place of worship…The Honorable Congress having recommended it to the United States to set apart Thursday the 6th of May next to be observed as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, to acknowledge the gracious interpositions of Providence; to deprecate deserved punishment for our sins and ingratitude, to unitedly implore the Protection of Heaven; Success to our Arms and the Arms of our Ally: The Commander in Chief enjoins a religious observance of said day and directs the Chaplains to prepare discourses proper for the occasion; strictly forbidding all recreations and unnecessary labor.” – General Washington order at Valley Forge, On April 12, 1777

At the end of the war, George Washington declared – “The singular interpositions of Providence in our feeble condition were such, as could scarcely escape the attention of the most unobserving; while the unparalleled perseverance of the Armies of the United States, through almost every possible suffering and discouragement for the space of eight long years, was little short of a standing miracle.”

Washington knew wherein true power resided. He knew that he had to call down that power and he knew how to do it. What did he and others call upon the people to do over and over? To fast, pray, hold devotions, repent etc.

Wake up! All is not well! On a daily basis arise each day and humble yourself before the Lord and raise your voice in mighty prayer. Worship God the Father, in the name of the Son by the power of the Holy Ghost. When you lie down to sleep at night, do so with praising and thankfulness for God in your heart. Confess your sins and then go out and be obedient to the commandments of God and let your light shine for others to see. It is going to take a miracle to save America and bring the rest of the righteous out of the world to safety.